What are the worst habits for your heart?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there are many ways to fight back with prevention. While there are some risk factors such as family history of heart disease that cannot be controlled, it is possible to keep your risk down by avoiding these bad habits.

Mismanaging stress

Stress is an everyday part of life, but it does not have to get the best of you. If you keep stress down by getting regular exercise or using alternative therapies, you can prevent high blood pressure to keep your heart healthy.

Smoking

Cigarette smoking has a number of negative effects on heart health. When you smoke, your respiratory system suffers, causing your blood pressure to spike. Smoking can also raise your cholesterol and cause damage to heart tissue.

Avoiding exercise

Physical activity is essential for heart and circulatory health, so you should make weekly exercise a priority. You should get at least two hours of moderate aerobic activity each week so that you maintain good circulation, keep your weight down and strengthen your heart.

Eating an unbalanced diet

Consuming a high-fat diet rich in red meat and animal fats will put you at a much higher risk for heart disease. The best way to eat for a healthy heart is by focusing on good fats found in olive oil, fish and nuts. You should round out your diet with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

For heart-healthy education and screening from a national leader in cardiovascular care, connect with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare online or at 331-221-1000. Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare serves the Chicago area through their main campus in Oakbrook and several outpatient centers in the western suburbs. 

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